Norfolk Skies (2)

Posted: October 19, 2017 in Landscape, Natural History, Norfolk, UK


Some more cloudscapes from our recent trip to Norfolk

Norfolk Skies (1)

Posted: October 18, 2017 in Landscape, Natural History, Norfolk, UK



Regular readers will know I have a fascination with skies. On our recent trip to Norfolk, the mixed weather we encountered certainly gave me lots of opportunity for photographing the wonderful cloud formations

The pride of Formby

Posted: October 17, 2017 in Mammals, Natural History

Today I was back up at Formby to join a guided walk to discover some of the Fungi that can be found in the pine woods (But more of that later). After the walk I had time to walk round the local Squirrel Reserve. A few years ago the Red Squirrel population was decimated by […]

via Red Squirrels at Formby. — Crosbyman66

Another post from Crosbyman about Formby Nature reserve and its most noted resident – this is the only place in mainland England that Red Squirrel lives.

Fungi at Formby

Posted: October 17, 2017 in Natural History, UK

Last week I visited Formby pinewoods to join an organised walk to discover fungi in the pinewoods. Our leader was Dave who led us on a three hour stroll through the woodland and the edge of the dunes. There were about twenty people on the walk including several children who came well prepared with magnifying […]

via Discovering Fungi at Formby. — Crosbyman66

The part of the UK is one of my favourites and a place I return to again and again. Here is an interesting post about a Fungi walk.

Faster than Sound

Posted: October 16, 2017 in History, Transport


Charles E. Yeager. Photo from U.S. Air Force, Media Gallery, via Wikimedia commons


Last Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of first super-sonic flight.

Charles ‘Chuck’ Yeager joined the US Army Airforce as an aircraft mechanic during the Second World War. In Sept 1942 he transferred to the pilot training programme and graduated as a fighter pilot. After the war, he became a test pilot and on 14th October 1947, his experimental Bell X-1 was dropped from the bomb bay of a B-29. On attaining its cruising altitude of 45,000 ft it achieved a speed of 662mph in level flight breaking the sound barrier. His record was to last until 1953 when Scott Crossfield flew at Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound) but Yeager achieved Mach 2.5 a few months later to regain it.

Yeager continued in his air force career eventually retiring as a Brigadier General.


From 15th October this year, the round £1coin will no longer be legal tender in the UK. I am sure we will all continue to find them long after that date. I know we found two in the car the other day.

Even if we cant spend them in the shops after the 15th we can still put them to good use by sending them to ‘The Round Pound Appeal’. This is an appeal run by Butterfly Conservation to help in its protection work for the Duke of Burgundy Fritillary, one of our most endangered Butterflies.

Duke of Burgundy. Photo by John Plumber (

Duke of Burgundy. Photo by John Plumber (

Simply send in your old £1 coins and nominate one of a number of charities available

For more details


And so to the last day of our Norfolk Journey -for this year at least- and we find ourselves back at the Wildfowl reserve at Welney on the Norfolk – Cambridgeshire border.

I got talking to one of the volunteer wardens as I was surprised to already see Whooper Swans on the reserve as these are winter visitors from the Arctic. She explained that they now have a small resident population made up of pairs where one of the pair has been injured and so cannot fly well enough to migrate in the spring and the autumn. The wonderful thing is that although one of the pair is perfectly ok, their pair-bonding is so strong that they stay on with their mate rather than migrate with the rest of the population. These pairs have begun to breed, but the youngsters do not stay with their parents when it comes time to migrate the following spring but go north with the rest of the birds to their normal breeding grounds.


St Margaret’s church, Hardley is located in the Norfolk Broads, an area located in the east of the county formed of river-fed connected lakes and much beloved by the boating and sailing fraternity. Whilst not as isolated as St Mary Houghton, St Margaret’s too stands in open fields with only a couple of houses nearby, testimony to the farming communities which it once served and which have now disappeared.


It is not clear when the church was originally built (it has been suggested that the chancel arch dates from the 13th century), but records of the Great Hospital in Norwich (owners of the manor of Hardley) show that in 1456 a decision was taken to rebuild the chancel and two years later they authorised the replacement of the roof. This might suggest that the original building had fallen into disrepair or out of use before this date. The work was completed by 1461. The church contains a number of features which date from this rebuild. The 15th-century font has an octagonal bowl on a stem supported by lions.


The 15th-century wall paintings were discovered several years ago during redecoration

There are 3 panels, St Christopher, St Catherine and a consecration cross which probably dates from the time the church was re-consecrated as a place of worship after the 15th-century rebuilding.


The chancel screen dates from the 15th century and the simple pulpit is from the Jacobean period (early 17th century).



Despite being close to the impressive Priory, St James Castle Acre is a large Church not much smaller than the Priory church itself. A church has existed in Acre since at least the late Saxon period as it is recorded that when William de Warrenne found Castle Acre Priory in 1090, the priory was granted income and control of ‘the church at Acre’


During the 14th and 15th century it became an important stop on the pilgrim’s way to the shrine at Walsingham and the church was rebuilt in the Perpendicular Gothic style. The church contains a number of interesting 15th-century features;

– a hexagonal font


– a wine-glass pulpit with paintings of Latin biblical scholars


– Rood screen with paintings of the 11 disciples plus St Matthias.


The priory was founded by William de Warrenne, Earl of Surrey on his land at Acre in Norfolk. The first Earl together with his wife had journeyed to Rome on pilgrimage and stopped at the monastery of Cluny in France. He subsequently invited the Cluniac order to establish a priory at Lewes in Sussex. It is not clear if it was this William or his son, also called William, who invited the Cluniac monks to establish a new house on the families land in Norfolk at Acre.


The priory as it would have looked before the dissolution


The west end of the priory church


The cloisters of the priory formed the centre around which all the other buildings were arranged

The Prior’s Solar and a fragment of medieval wall painting from the Prior’s chapel suggesting that it would have been highly decorated

The priory was very successful and continued to grow until the time it was surrendered to the crown commissioners in 1537 on the orders of Henry VIII. The land was given to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk won had the priory buildings demolished with the exception of the Priors lodgings which were converted into a private residence.


The Prior’s lodgings showing some of the changes that occurred when it was converted into a private residence

The ownership passed to Edward Coke, Earl of Leicester in the 17th century and has remained in the Coke family ever since. The site is now managed by English Heritage.